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Newslinks for Wednesday 27th February 2013

5pm ToryDiary: Tim Montgomerie moving to become Comment Editor of The Times (but he'll still be writing for ConservativeHome)

3.30pm LeftWatch: What happens if Nick Clegg resigns?

3pm Agenda for ConservativeHome's Victory 2015 Conference

12.30pm Review of PMQs: You're just like Gordon Brown. Cameron begins new push to paint Ed Miliband as an unrepentant big spender.

11.30am Chris Skidmore MP on Comment: Let's seize this golden opportunity to put history back at the heart of the national curriculum

BCD

© i-Images

11.15am Local government: Eric Pickles is NOT resisting further spending cuts

ToryDiary: After Rennard, Parliament may seek to bar sexism, with good consequences - and bad ones

Nick Faith on Comment: Osborne should announce local pay bargaining in the Budget

Columnist Garvan Walshe: China’s cyber attacks betray Beijing’s attitude to international security

The Deep End: "To think out of the box, you first have to realise that there is a box. And this, in the end, is the tragedy of David Cameron's leadership of the Conservative Party and of the nation. By surrendering the origination and development of policy to the civil service, he had retreated into the furthest corner of the darkest box and closed the lid."

On Local government: Cllr Nicholas Rogers calls for unitary authorities, fewer but higher paid councillors and local sales tax revenue to replace grants from central government.

Italian voters were, quite sensibly, rejecting permanent austerity, locked into the €uro - John Redwood

Troubles in Italy (and other poorly-led nations) benefit Britain... "UK long-term borrowing costs have fallen to their lowest level this year, as troubles in the eurozone offset worries over a fresh batch of credit rating downgrades for government-backed institutions." - FT (£)

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 08.00.48

Italy's voters were rejecting the €uro - says the Daily Mail leader ...no, they weren't, says the FT (£): "Opinion polls show that support for the euro in Italy remains high."

  • "Europe's leaders are steadily dragging their joint economies towards depression, afflicting their competitive relation with the outside world possibly for ever..." ...and, writes Simon Jenkins in The Guardian, Italians said enough is enough.
  • "The reason Italy has been plunged into political chaos — and why world stock markets have plunged, too — is distressingly simple. Thanks to a proportional representation electoral system of the kind favoured by the hapless Nick Clegg, the balance of power in the Italian legislature is held by a party whose leader is a stand-up comedian. As a result, the third-largest economy in the eurozone appears for the moment to be ungovernable." - Simon Heffer in the Daily Mail
  • There's plenty of disaffection, but no good alternatives - Wall Street Journal

> Yesterday's International: The only grown up candidate in Italy's general election won just 10% of the vote

"Fiery" Cabinet meeting discusses ring-fencing

"David Cameron has presided over one of his most fiery cabinet meetings when a group of ministers demanded an end to "ringfenced" spending and two ministers were criticised for failing to promote growth measures." - Guardian

"Several ministers have started arguing that there should no longer be ringfencing for overseas aid, health and schools, although the Prime Minister has always insisted that these budgets will be protected until the end of the Parliament and into 2015-16." - Times (£)

  • Predicted reductions in MoD budget could lead to drastic measures such as axing another 15,000 jobs - Guardian | FT (£)

> Yesterday's ConHome exclusive: Tory Cabinet ministers and Lib Dems have one message for Osborne: Cut the ring fences

OSBORNE + CAMERONDavid Cameron and George Osborne have ordered ministers - notably Eric Pickles and Maria Miller - to do more to kickstart growth amid a Cabinet “blame game” about Britain’s flatlining economy - Independent

John Redwood sets out his economic recipe in an article for The Times

"A shortage of public borrowing is not the problem. What we lack is a strong private sector recovery. To produce that needs action to curb inflation, set realistic tax rates, and mend the banks more rapidly. Costly energy, poor transport, and a lack of electricity for the future are also issues in search of solutions that could assist growth." - John Redwood in The Times (£)

  • Tory MPs want cuts to corporation tax and air passenger duty - Telegraph
  • Allister Heath proposes a ten point plan to reboot Britain - Telegraph
  • Bank of England Deputy Governor the prospect of a base rate BELOW zero in bid to kickstart spending - Daily Mail

Ten Tory MPs demand Sir David Nicholson quits over NHS catastrophe - Daily Mail

Migrants will be banned from automatic legal aid in the UK - Telegraph

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 12.55.01Hyprocritical Cabinet ministers have waved through THREE beer tax rises — despite campaigning to halt them in opposition - The Sun

> Jonathan Isaby on Comment yesterday: Stop increasing tax on our pints of beer!

Some of the country’s most prominent historians have backed Michael Gove’s controversial new history curriculum

"In a letter to The Times (£) published today, 15 historians, including David Starkey, Antony Beevor and Niall Ferguson, write: “While these proposals will no doubt be adapted as a result of full consultation, the essential idea ... is a welcome one.”" - Times (£)

Tory ex-minister, Tim Loughton, turns his sights on Michael Gove's adviser

"In a significant escalation of hostilities between the former minister and his old colleagues at the Department of Education, he has used parliamentary procedure to question whether any formal complaints have been made about Dominic Cummings." - Independent

3,496 council-owned properties have been sold to tenants since the relaunch of Right-to-Buy last April, the highest number of sales for five years - FT (£)

The government is to announce the appointment of a chief social scientist, who will co-ordinate a set of "what works" evidence centres in Whitehall - The Guardian

EU ministers back fish dumping plan - BBC

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 08.15.43The Eastleigh by-election campaign has entered its final day - BBC

  • "Maria Hutchings told the BBC the Tories had the best plans on immigration, Europe and cutting the deficit."
  • Simon Hoggart notes that Lib Dem MPs abandoned health questions and Commons debates yesterday to campaign in Eastleigh (or out of Rennard-related shame?) - Guardian
  • Michael Gove says UKIP is the protest party of choice for unhappy Eastleigh voters - Telegraph
  • Disgraced former Tory minister Neil Hamilton and his 'lovely' wife Christine spent the day campaigning on behalf of UKIP - Guardian

Alleged Lord Rennard victim says nine other women 'involved' in case - BBC

"Nick Clegg was personally warned by one of his MPs that a senior figure in the Liberal Democrats might be sexually molesting female members of staff, The Daily Telegraph can disclose."

'We were called Rennard's red hot babes' - Independent

If Nick Clegg’s story won’t stand up, the Lord Rennard scandal could finish him - Mary Riddell in The Telegraph

Only 11% of voters think Clegg "open and honest" over Lord Rennard scandal, 52% say not open and honest - Sun Politics

Clegg Unhappy
In his Times (£) column Daniel Finkelstein cools on the Coalition: "The Lib Dems have gone from constructive coalition partner to obstructive one... Nationally the Lib Dems talk pretty much only of how they are going to tax the rich more and resist further welfare reform."

Only a total Cleggectomy can save the Lib Dems now - Matthew Norman in The Independent

Labour will fight the next general election on a £25 billion pledge to retain Britain's independent nuclear deterrent - Independent

BLAIR TONY seriousTony Blair says Iraq would be far worse today under Saddam Hussein - Guardian

"He admitted that life in Iraq, where sectarian killings continue on a weekly basis, was not what he had hoped it would be following the downfall of Saddam Hussein. But he said that the situation would have been much worse if the dictator had been allowed to stay, describing him as 20 times worse than Bashar Assad of Syria." - Times (£)

We are luckier than we realise to have had Labour as our Left-of-Centre party - Dan Hannan at The Telegraph

MPs are to be spared the full impact of a rise in pension contributions paid by other public-sector employees - Daily Express

Why did it take so long to award campaign decorations to survivors of the Arctic convoys and Bomber Command? - Telegraph leader

The Pope is a pretty good role model for believer and unbeliever alike - Ann Widdecombe in the Daily Express

Gay Pride FlagLeading American Republicans sign legal brief in favour of gay marriage - New York Times

> The Daily Dish's Andrew Sullivan welcomes the news.

And finally... (1) John Bercow apologises for wrongly 'outing' 6ft 2in former England rugby star Ben Cohen as 'openly gay' - Daily Mail

And finally... (2) The gaffe-prone Mayor of London Boris Johnson has fought a losing battle with a sewing machine at a clothing factory before declaring the finished garment a "codpiece" - ITV

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